Whenever I hear the word customer service, I often remember these popular quotes.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work – he is the purpose of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him. - M.K. Gandhi
It does not matter whether you are a B2B or B2C, delivering positive customer experience across the channels or touch points customers Interact with your company, has a significant impact on your topline and bottom line growth.
Before we answer the question on the qualities or attributes of a good customer service, let us explore a closely related and an Important question:- What is the business impact of good customer service? How do we measure it?
Think of all the ways how a good customer service can payoff business in the near or long term.
A good customer service may drive more referrals to your business
Enhance customer retention and customer life time value
It might increase purchase frequency
It may increase your NPS or the Net Promoter Score
Good customer service may boost customer loyalty
Drive positive word of mouth
Provide you with good customer reviews and ratings across various online platforms
Decrease customer churn
Increase revenue retention rates
May Increase or strengthen your competitive advantage
Imagine the impact of these payoff on the topline and bottom line of your business. A research done by Frederick Reichheld, Bain & Company shows that an increase in customer retention rates by 5% increases profit by 25-95%.
Still not convinced. Look at this findings made by the Bain & Company. It is pretty evident from the below Infographic that companies that excel in providing excellent customer service can reap tangible business outcomes in the the form of Increased revenues and Customer life time value.
According to "The Global State of XM ( Experience Management ) 2020 " report published by Qualtrics XM Institute, companies that manages customer experience better reaps significant revenue, profitability and employee retention growth and heck they beat their competitors by a significant margin in all three key areas ( Revenue growth, profitability and employee retention)
Another survey on the "ROI of Customer Experience 2018 " by Qualtrics XM Institute across industries clearly reveals the impact of positive customer experience on purchase volume, trust, forgiveness and willingness to recommend.
Having made or established a strong case for the business impact of good customer service, let us move on to the defining the qualities of good customer service.
What is customer service?
Simply put, customer service is all about being there and helping your customers to get what they want, how they want and when they want. It manifests in many forms. It can be as simple as answering customer queries about your product or service ( through online channels or off line ), troubleshooting a problem, educating them about your product or service, onboarding them on your platform, facilitating their payments or deliveries, providing a demo or negotiating a pricing or customer contract. In other words, customer service is all about putting yourselves in the shoes of your customer and solving for their needs or challenges they may encounter with your company.
What are the qualities of good customer service?
While the attributes or qualities of a good customer service are aplenty, In this article I am going to focus on 5 that I see are very critical to an organization's growth or success.
The top 5 qualities of customer service are listed below
Organizational Culture - In my view, the culture of the company plays a huge role affecting customer service. The beliefs, attitudes and values of the company towards its customers may have a huge bearing on the quality of customer service it provides. Any company that does not put customers at the center of what and how they do things be it designing products, handling promotion, distribution & pricing, business models, customer support etc. will likely to fail now or later. While failing is fine, learning from it and acting on it quickly get your business back on track.
Empathy - Another important attribute of a good customer service is the ability of your company or its employees to empathize with their customers. Empathy goes beyond customer service cliches like I am sorry, I know what you would be going through or we regret the inconvenience caused etc. If your words are not genuinely backed with your actions, then it only brings mistrust and agony.
Active Listening - Another key attribute to good customer service. Organizations that actively listens to and have systems or processes in place to listen what customers are thinking about their brand across channels, gathering feedback ( social media listening, reviews and ratings, surveys and Interviews etc. ) and acting on that intelligence are keys to improving customer service.
Leadership - This is often an overlooked attribute when it comes to customer service but I think, leadership plays a crucial role in affecting organizational culture towards customer service. Great leaders set an example by being good listeners, empathize with their employees or what they have to say, built-in structures, systems, processes and incentivizes employees for delivering positive customer experience. I think great leaders be the CEOs , CMOs or the Customer Experience (CX ) Officer of a company play a transformative role in fostering good customer experience throughout the organization.
Customer Centricity - Customer centric companies always tend to invest in the right people, technology, platforms and solutions that elevates customer experience across its products or services. They do not treat customer service as a one off exercise but a constant endeavor towards improving the lives of customers solving for their pain points not just today but for tomorrow as well. The do not just simply react to customer needs or issues but proactively engage customers in the design and delivery of exceptional customer experience.
Want to know how companies put these attributes or qualities into practice or action. Check the list of top 100 most customer-centric companies of 2022 compiled by the Forbes Magazine that recognize companies that are leading with customer experience. What good customer qualities they exhibit and what has contributed to their success?
Do share your comments here.
To conclude, customer service is a mindset built on the foundations of empathy, respect , care, and trust. Companies that understands this well and those which have created structures, systems, policies and practices surrounding these foundations are far likely to sustain than those who do not have any of them or less of them.